Becoming the First Female Forester at Hammermill


























In honor of Women’s History month, we spoke with Brenda Heindl, one of the first female foresters at Hammermill Paper Company, which was acquired by International Paper in 1986. Brenda told us her inspiring story of finding a career that would take her to forestlands across the US, as well as Canada and Russia. She became the first and only woman forester that Hammermill Southern Operations has ever had. Brenda shares her advice for women interested in forestry, and her knowledge on forest conservation.

What sparked your interest in becoming a forester?

Honestly, when I was finishing high school I had never heard of a forester. My HS college counselor – Ms. PK Faye – suggested I might like forestry. When I asked her, “What do foresters do” she told me, “They sit in fire towers.” To this day, I have never set foot in a fire tower.

Growing up in Virginia, I liked being outside – I rode horses and spent a lot of time at the farm, working with the horses, helping teach riding lessons, also swimming in the South Anna River and wandering through the woods either on foot or horseback. Growing up, I also liked math and science, which are both used a lot in the forestry field. In college at Virginia Tech I even took two quarters of organic chemistry as electives!

When I was in college I co-oped with the US Army Corps of Engineers as a forestry technician and this gave me a good feel for what was really involved in being a forester. I really enjoyed the work and so I continued to major in forest resource management and wildlife management at Virginia Tech.

When I was senior at Virginia Tech, four professors took about 15 students on a Spring Break trip to visit forest industry companies in the deep South (Alabama and Georgia) – Georgia Kraft (now IP Rome, GA), Union Camp (now IP Prattville, AL), Container Corp, MacMillan Bloedel (now IP Pine Hill, AL), and Kimberly-Clark. That trip resulted in me learning that Hammermill was hiring.

Describe why you enjoyed being a forester.

I had an opportunity to do such a variety of things and to see forestland across the United States, Canada and even Russia all under the umbrella of work and get paid for it! I told one of my first bosses I could not believe I was getting paid to do this and he said he could probably make some other arrangements.

I cruised timber, marked timber, bid on timber, managed thousands of acres of land, worked with loggers and other contractors, worked with non-industrial landowners to manage their lands, trapped beaver, drove a tractor, planted trees, sold tree seedlings, and sold utility poles.

I also enjoyed the variety of people I had the opportunity to meet and work with, either as International Paper co-workers, contractors, customers or fellow foresters working for other companies, or trade association folks.

How do foresters conserve forests?

First, it is important to make the distinction between preservation and conservation. People often confuse the two. Both terms involve a degree of protection, but how that protection is carried out is the key difference. Conservation is the sustainable use and management of natural resources including wildlife, water, air, and earth deposits to benefit people. The conservation of renewable resources like trees involves ensuring that they are not consumed faster than they can be replaced. Preservation, in contrast to conservation, attempts to maintain natural resources in their present condition by excluding management and any human activity.

Foresters conserve forests by using and managing forests while keeping forests healthy. If we do not have demand and use of paper and wood products there is no need for people to grow trees and have forests. It is just like if people stopped eating beef – no one would raise cows anymore. Typically, the way we lose forests is not due to forest industry activity but a result of agriculture and development. If the forest industry owns land they may cut the timber from time to time but they will keep that land growing trees so they have wood fiber to make their products.

What is your best advice for a woman who is interested in becoming a forester?

Go for it – you can do whatever you put your mind and heart into! Get on-the-job experience. Be open-minded and willing to work hard.

What is one aspect of forestry that you would like women to know about?

People need to know that there is a lot more to being a forester than you think. As I mentioned, when I was finishing high school, my high school college counselor suggested forestry as a major, and all she knew about forestry was that foresters sat in fire towers, or so she thought. If you are lucky enough to work for a company like International Paper, your forestry background can lead you to quite a variety of jobs – just about anything you want to do from forestry to finance to sales to logistics to IT and on and on.



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Fall is All About the Layers

Want to get a jump on next spring? Plant a little cardboard this fall. Cardboard and paper are economical, sustainable and easy tools to use this fall while prepping for your springtime garden.

For neophyte gardeners, a simple layer of cardboard might be enough. According to garden writer Stacy Tornio, writing for the website, this can be done by laying a cardboard template on the ground in autumn where you want your flower bed to be. Wet the cardboard thoroughly and layer with more soil, compost or mulch. Come spring, you will have a rich and ready bed.

For gardeners who have a little more patience, maybe it’s time to try some lasagna – as in the “lasagna method,” also known as layering. In lasagna gardens, organic material are layered on top of the land and no tilling is necessary.

It was a method “borne of frustration,” according to author and gardener Patricia Lanza. In an article for Mother Earth News, she writes, “I began to think about a garden built on top of the sod, requiring none of the traditional preparation: no lifting the sod, no digging or tilling, just neat layers of organic ingredients left to decompose over the winter …”

One of the most important layers is cardboard — and it can be laid out in whatever pattern you want.

“I laid cardboard on the paths,” Lanza says, “and covered the cardboard with bark chips. I then covered the garden spaces with thick layers of wet newspaper, overlapping the ends, and covered the paper with one to two inches of peat moss. Then I laid a three- to four-inch layer of dried grass clippings over the peat moss and added another one or two inches of peat moss. I continued to alternate layers of waste material and peat moss. Midway through, it struck me that the peat moss was akin to the cheese layer in a real lasagna.”

There are several sites you can check out to help in the construction of your lasagna garden, including herehere and here. And if you need extra cardboard, with the popularity of online shopping and monthly subscription boxes, you are sure to find a friend or two who can help out.


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9 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Office

1. Physically Clean Your Office

Following cold and flu season, a clean office can reduce the risk of continually spreading germs throughout the office. Although sick employees should be encouraged to clean their work stations when returning to work, a thorough de-germing will help keep your workforce healthy and organized.

2. Upgrade Printers

One of the best ways to ensure that all documents are stored correctly is to invest in an all-in-one printer with scanning and access to a cloud based storage system.

3. Clear The Memory

It’s important to clean the cloud periodically to maximize your memory usage. While spring cleaning the office, take the time to monitor what’s currently in the cloud and delete documents that are no longer relevant.

4. Don’t Forget The Furniture

If it’s been a while since you’ve replaced regular furniture, such as office chairs, look into it. If chairs are worn, they may be hurting your employees. Consider investing in ergonomically correct chairs, keyboards, etc., along with standing work stations.


5. Clean Up Your Hard Drive

When hard drives get full, it can hamper the performance of your computer. If your company’s computers are older, make sure you regularly run scans to compress and optimize files on the hard drive. By doing so, you can enhance the computer’s performance.

6. Recycle Old Reports

If you’ve got a ton of old paper reports lying around, disassemble them and consider reusing them. Everything else can be recycled, clearing up shelf space for more recent documents.

7. Organize

For the files that you’ve chosen to keep on the cloud, organize them in a method that is easy for any employee to follow. Make sure that every one of your documents is in a logical folder and easily accessible.

8. Disinfect Your Phone

It is a well-known fact that phones can quickly become disgusting. One way to prevent this is to keep anti-bacterial microfiber cloths that are specifically made for phones with you. If you don’t have them, mix a 40/60 alcohol/water solution into a spray bottle, and spray a phone-safe cloth to wipe your phone free of germs.

9. Clean The Vents

Computers, printers and other electronics have vents to keep the electronic components from overheating, but these can easily become dirty with lint. Keep your electronics running smoothly by using a microfiber cloth and cotton swans to clear dust and lint from these vents.

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We’ve Joined the Two-Sides Network!


Strickland Companies Joins Two Sides

Submitted by: Pamela Watters 08/25/2014


Two Sides North America Press Release


CHICAGO (August 25, 2014) – Strickland Companies has joined Two Sides North America, the non-profit organization that promotes and encourages the responsible production, use and sustainability of print and paper.

“We are very pleased to have Strickland Companies join our organization and look forward to working with them to promote the many benefits provided by the use of sustainably produced print and paper,” says Two Sides North America President Phil Riebel.

“Strickland Companies is delighted to join Two Sides. At Strickland, we very much embrace the mission of addressing the issues of sustainability in the Paper and Forest Products industry with straight forward facts and transparency,” says Bayard Tynes, President, Strickland Companies.

About Strickland Companies

Since 1928, Strickland Companies has been a leader in innovative paper products and services. We have six locations that represent and distribute products for hundreds of manufacturers throughout the Southeast. Still privately owned and rapidly growing, our services have expanded to include: fine paper, flexible packaging, business products, furniture and facility supplies. Strickland Companies is proud to be a charter member of the Association of Independent Printing Paper Merchants as well as a member of Afflink and Trimega.  For more information please visit the Strickland Companies website

About Two Sides

Two Sides is an independent, non-profit organization created to promote the responsible production, use and sustainability of print and paper.  Two Sides is active globally in North America, Europe, Australia, South Africa and Brazil.  Our members span the entire print and paper value chain, including forestry, pulp, paper, inks and chemicals, pre-press, press, finishing, publishing, printing, envelopes and postal operators.  For more information about Two Sides North America, please contact Phil Riebel at 1-855-896-7433 or, or visit the Two Sides website at


Myths and Facts: When it Comes to Paper, Some People Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

Paper has been around for more than 2000 years, and for good reason. It’s a highly effective and versatile means of communication. Even in today’s digital age with the vast array of alternative media to choose from, paper’s unique aesthetic qualifies and practical appeal are unmatched.

Paper is highly sustainable, too. But as attention to the environment has increased in recent years, so have myths and misconceptions that the paper industry is responsible for large-scale deforestation and adverse impacts on the environment. As always, there are two sides to every debate, and paper has a great environmental story to tell.

Two Sides presents the facts about paper production, use and recycling to dispel the myths, promote well-informed, confident media buying decisions and encourage greater responsibility throughout the life of paper products.

To get the facts about the sustainability of Print and Paper click below:

MYTH: Making paper consumers a lot of energy.

FACT: Paper production supports sustainable forest management.

MYTH: Making paper is bad for the environment.

FACT: Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products.

MYTH: Electronic information is more environmentally friendly than print and paper.

FACT: Not necessarily. E-media also has environmental impacts.


For this article and other paper-truths visit